NB: This higgledy-piggledy of a post mostly concerns my commercial photography clients, so if you’re not one of them… Well, you gonna read it anyway, aren’t you?
A meeting planner recently complimented my work. She said, and I quote, “You are not like other photographers, you never freak out!”
That almost freaked me out. I regularly receive compliments on my creativity, talent, technique, camera, lens and… I think I pretty much ran out of words that people use when feeling the need to say something nice to a photographer. Oftentimes these compliments are absolutely genuine and much less generic. Take ubiquitousness for example – although no one ever uses this word; it usually sounds more like “Holy smoke, how do you do it? You are everywhere!”
But equanimity?! That was new. Or was it really? Every event vendor feels the pressure. But I’ve been working with established professionals for such a long time, I almost forgot that some vendors are totally capable of workplace freak-outs, tantrums and meltdowns. Actually, as I remember now, a few decades ago I won the hearts of quite a few event coordinators by simply saying to them something like “You can safely strike me out from the list of things to worry about”. English is not my first language, can’t you tell?
…Anyhow, where was I? Oh yes, the reasons why you should hire a professional photographer. Once upon a time I’ve compiled one of these silly lists too. I went for an overkill – my list had over 100 facts and factoids on it. And while it never made anyone convert from “freebie” to “pro”, I had quite a few wedding prospects changing their mind from “We want cheap photo and video” straight to “We could only afford one really good visual pro, and we want you, not the video guy”. So maybe this list thing works after all?
I understand why so many brides are into list posts such as “99 best wedding cake cutting techniques” or “12 reasons why you need a valet service at your rustic barn wedding”. Lists are schweet way to make one feel in control and organized… Especially if you’re 20-something and planning your very first wedding.
But this post is about commercial photography, not weddings, so… What’s your excuse? If you’re not ready to hire a pro for your company’s photography needs, it means one of 3 things. You’re either married to one, or raising one… Or you need to be reminded of one of the fundamental laws of marketing: you sell what you show. Especially when you’re not selling tangibles, but skills, ideas and experiences. Photographs that you’re going to use in the booklets and fliers are probably just as important to the success of your next conference as the names of the speakers. Same goes for your website or a landing page: parallax and animations are nice, but throw in just one generic stock photo, and you’ll look like a startup. Use amateur photos, and the impact of your professionally designed landing page will be pretty much the same as if you were sending out bulk empty emails with “newsletter.doc” attached.
You do need a professional photographer, this isn’t even a question. Question is, do you want me?
To help you decide, I did a little research fist – googled a few dozen lists of reasons why businesses hire commercial photographers. Or to be exact, what photographers are saying about the reasons why you should hire them. Frankly, it was quite depressing to read. All of these arguments can be boiled down to:
- “I have better / bigger cameras and lenses”
- “I have better lighting gear”
- “I have props and grips and interns to assist”
- “I have a retoucher”
- “I have education”
- “I have experience”
- “I am a member of the Professional Organization Whatsitsname”
- “I am a professional photographer and you need one, so you need me, duh!”
- “Captain Obvious speaking”
- “I made this list for SEO”
If this isn’t the first time you’re looking to hire a photographer, you already had your share of mishaps. You know that the usual CV bullet points rarely even correlate with great photography. Worse still, beautiful photographs in a portfolio is not a guarantee that yours will look good. And there’s no guarantee either that a documentary style photographer you hired won’t suddenly go all artsy-fartsy in the middle of event…
That’s why you want me to be your photographer.
- My core style is documentary, which is also known as candid or photojournalistic. Actually, for almost half of my 40+ year long photographic career I was a photojournalist for various publications and news agencies.
- For the last 12 years or so I’ve been working on my non-photojournalistic skills such as advanced artificial studio and on-location lighting, panoramas/bokehramas, stacked macro, HDR etc.
- Communication. Long time ago I used to suck at it just like most photographers do. But I’ve been working on this skill too, and made a noticeable progress. Guess it’s time to start working on my accent now…
- I’ve been studying neuropsychology and its practical applications such as FACS, body language and other forms of visually perceivable nonverbal communications. It greatly helps in creating photographs that send the right kind of message.
- My main area of expertise is in social events and portraiture, but I’m also offering aerial (drone) imaging as well as various forms of industrial and scientific imagery.
- As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I never freak out; never freeze either.
- Self sufficient punctuality. If we’ve scheduled a shoot – no matter when or where, – I’ll be there on time, period.
- This is the first year of re-establishing my business stateside after a 6 year long hiatus abroad. My 2017-18 calendar already looks good, but 2016 still has a lot of free days. On any given day I’d rather be photographing than fishing, despite the fact that I am an avid fisherman… So if you need a photographer – send me a message.
And while we’re at it, what’s most important to you about corporate event and portrait photography?